Wednesday, November 30, 2011

10 Days Already!

Wow, I can't believe we have been in the States for 10 days ... we landed and hit the ground running. 

Here is a quick recap 

Diana picked us up at the airport in Dallas and we were also surprised by my 83 year old granddad.  He had been waiting at the airport since it opened because he couldn't remember what time our flight arrived (which was 10 am).  After we left the airport Diana took us to the Cracker Barrel to eat.  This was our first time to ever eat at one and it was really yummy! 

We stayed in Dallas for a few days and Mark's mom spoiled us rotten ... she had bought us all our own bathroom supplies, let Mark, Brit and I get a massage, she "dog sat" our old dog "Snowbell" that we gave to a friend of hers before we left, bought our first Sonic drink, bought dough nuts, had the house decorated for Christmas and so much more.  We also went shopping and of course one of the stores we hit up was Old Navy.  

On Tuesday night we went to dinner with Mark's uncle and cousins - it was great to visit with them.  Then on Wednesday we headed to San Angelo and went to Mark's sisters house.  Of course soon after arriving we unloaded and headed to Franco's.  Two and a half years was a LONG time to go without Franco's!  When we went back to Steph's house she gave us a "welcome" sack loaded with our favorite candies and a new cup.  She also had signs on the bedroom doors and Luke's bed was decorated with a Cowboys blanket and Brit's room was COVERED in Tech colors along with a blanket and flag on the wall.  This made Brit really "excited" seeing as she LOVES Texas NOT Tech.... I think Steph enjoyed it! 

No clue why these next to pictures are sideways ... this is not how they look on my computer 

This is what it looks like to travel for 4 months!

This picture is making me hungry!  

 Diana and Steph took care of everything for Thanksgiving and we had a great meal.  The kids enjoyed riding the four wheeler, playing games and Brit even got a ride on Uncle Cary's motorcycle.  We also spent awhile looking through all the ads and making a plan for our traditional Black Friday early shopping trip.  Then we went home and had homemade breakfast burritos for breakfast ... tasted so good.

 We also celebrated Christmas early.  Diana called the week "Thankmas" since we were combining the two holidays into one and we ALL had so much to be thankful for and most of all the fact that we serve a loving God. 

On Saturday, Mendi dropped by to see us, two and a half years was way too long but we just picked up right were we left off.  I praise the Lord for her friendship. Sunday we went to PaulAnn Baptist Church, our sending church.  It was great to see everyone and be there.  Sunday night my parents arrived in San Angelo and we prepared for our trip to Florida. 

We left on Monday for Florida but we are taking 5 days to get to Naples.  This gave us time to stop and see my 3 great aunts (one in San Antonio, one in Houston and one in Groves).  Tomorrow we will stop and see a friend of my mom's in Jacksonville and then on Friday we will arrive in Naples and stay with Ken and Nancy for a week and a half.  The kids thought it was great that we were in 4 different States today. 

Aunt Lavon

Aunt Nita

We didn't take pictures with my Aunt Carolyn and my cousins Mel, Carrie and Cheryl.  I guess we were too busy talking and we all forgot.  I will be sure to get some in December when we are with them.  


Way past my bed time here, we have another full day ahead of us on the road tomorrow.  Thank you for praying for our family. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Heading to the States ... bittersweet for sure

We leave for the States tomorrow and begin our journey with the drive to Joburg in the morning to catch our flight tomorrow night.  I must say we are TIRED here...  we spent all day yesterday and today in our year end staff meetings and now we have suitcases 90% packed, pizza in the kitchen, Brit at youth, Luke on the couch relaxing after a fun day at Jr. Youth and Mark is outside on the front porch sharing the Gospel and answering questions with a man named Ellais that walks around this neighbor hood with a lawn mower looking for work.

I just wanted to share a few things with you before we head out ...

We were so blessed on Wednesday night when we went to Johann and Ria’s house for our small group.  When we got there we noticed that they had organized snacks and EVERYONE that is a part of our group was able to make it.  They spent time praying for our family and for our trip to the States.  They also took time and read scripture for us.  Then we ended the night with great food and fellowship.  We have been blessed over the past two and a half years by the friendships and relationships that the Lord has given us.  Here are the scriptures that they shared with us …

Philippians 4: 6-7
         Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.    And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 4:1-6
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

1 Peter 1: 13-25
         Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.  For,
All flesh is like grass,
And all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
And the flower falls off,
               But the word of the Lord endures forever.”
And this is the word which was preached to you.

3 John 2
Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.

2 John 3
Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

1 Corinthians 15:58
         Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

Philippians 3: 12- 14
          Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Exodus 33 -34 (Johann asked us to read this on the plane)

We leave for America tomorrow.  It is hard to believe that we have been here serving the Lord with Samaria Mission for 2 ½ years.  Our time here has flown by for us.  We can say that this has become our home and we are settled here.  We praise the Lord for all that He has done in our lives since we have been here serving in Africa.  

We are excited and feel that this is the time the Lord has for us to visit the States.  The purpose our visit is to visit friends and family but also to share all the Lord is doing in and through Samaria Mission as well as raise awareness and support for our family and the various ministries within the mission. 
Even though we are excited to get on the plane (and catch up on sleep – I hope) and see family and friends we are really going to miss being here in Africa.  I was sitting outside the other morning enjoying time with the Lord and I was thinking about our trip and time away …

These are things we are looking forward to …
Seeing family and friends
Spending time with our church family, PaulAnn Baptist Church in San Angelo, Texas
Eating Mexican food (Franco’s)
Sharing about all the Lord is doing in the mission with others (we have around 15 opportunities so far)
Things we are going to miss in South Africa …
Our friends and church family here
the mission – being gone for four months there are meetings, discussions, leadership trainings, and the golf day fundraiser etc. that we will miss
braai’s (bbq’s) & Pap
the scenery in Africa (animals, birds, flowers, mountains, sunrises, sunsets and I could go on and on…)
Jankie and Meriam (they have helped us around the house for the last 2 years – they are so special to us and the good-bye was hard as we will miss them and they said they will miss us)

The list for both America and South Africa could go on for a while but the point is that we love America and are looking forward to our visit AND we love South Africa and Mozambique and we are so blessed to be called to serve the Lord here.  We want to thank EVERYONE for your faithful and continuous  prayers, encouragement and support for our family as we continue to serve here in South Africa and Mozambique.  We are really looking forward to seeing all the Lord is going to do in our lives and in and through the mission. 
We will keep everyone updated on our visit to the States, our down time as well as the opportunities that we have to share about the work we are involved in with the mission. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Annual Mozambique Pastor's Conference

Last week Mark, along with Josh, William, Gabriel, Derrick, Member, Joseph, Andrew, Charlie, Doug, Debbie, Aaron and Nehemiah headed into Mozambique for the Annual Pastor's Conference.  This is one of the missions favorite times of the year as all the pastors and leaders from both training hubs meet together.  This is a great time of teaching, fellowship and celebration of all the Lord has done.  Check out Doug and Debbie's blog as well as Samaria Mission's Facebook page for more reports and photos from the conference.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Little of This and That

Over the last month we have realized that are departure date for our visit to the States is coming really fast.  Mark and I have both had lots of little and big things we need and want to get done before we leave.  We are making huge progress on our "to do" list and managing to keep up with daily things as well such as school for the kids.  Brit and Luke have both committed to working extra hard these past few weeks and they have set a goal to finish all school work that is due between now and December 16th (when we were officially going to break for Christmas).  They have done extra lessons each day and it looks like they will be able to get it finished before we leave.  We have 11 school days left.  We are proud of them and we will enjoy our break.  Once we arrive on the 20th we will be Dallas for a few days with Bruce and Diana.  Then off to San Angelo for Thanksgiving with Cary and Stephanie (along with Bruce and Diana).  Then in December off to Florida with Bob and Gayle to see Ken and Nancy, read about them here

Last week Mark, along with the help of Doug and William put up a carport so that the bakkie (our truck) has some protection from the African sun as well as the rain and occasional hail we get.  Mark and the rest of the guys (along with Debbie) went to Mozambique for the Annal Pastor's Conference this week.  Luke also had a swimming Gala last week and he finished 2nd in 3 events, back stroke, breast stroke and free style. I have been busy sorting through pictures for presentations in the States, working on updates for the website with Nathan, and trying to cook extra food and freeze meals for Meriam, Jankie and Josh (he came to serve with the mission one year - he's from our sending church, PaulAnn BC),  to have while we are gone.

Luke is on the far right lane

 I forgot to take a picture of the finished product.  Oops, but it is really nice to be able to park both cars under it and bonus it provided much needed shade for the guest bathroom and Brit's room. 

We have this HUGE tree in our back yard that is right next to our fence and it hangs over into the neighbors drive-way.  This tree is beautiful for a few months of the year but the rest it is a real mess.  It is also right next to our sewage line and the man-hole, which we are always having trouble with.  Even the city tried to tell us it was the cause of our sewage always backing up because of the roots, only when they came to dig up my line in the back yard they found it clear of roots.  Well, the neighbor really gets the worst of the tree as this time of year it gets these little yellow flowers and for a few days it looks like snow as the pollen (I guess that is what it is) falls from the tree.  THEN THE BERRIES come.  They are pretty until they fall and most end up on her drive way which makes a huge mess.  Her driveway is even stained from them.  Last week she saw Mark and asked him if he was going to take this tree out.  We did mention to her that we wanted to last year and we even got a quote from a "tree man" to come and remove it and a few other problem trees.  Problem is he wanted R1500 to do it and we just didn't want to spend the money on it.  Monday, Jankie was here working in the yard and he was trimming a few trees and started to trim that one.  Today, he managed to continue trimming, which meant he had to become like a monkey and climb.  Made me nervous he was going to fall but he kept telling me he is fine.  Eventually both kids and Meriam were outside watching and helping.  He got all he could down today and on Tuesday when Mark and Josh are back from Mozambique he wants to get the rest down.  I am sure the neighbor was HAPPY when she came home from work and noticed the tree is coming down just before the berries come. 

I am grateful that Jankie was willing to tackle the task of this huge tree.  Next week after we take the rest of it down we will load the wood on the trailer and take it to Jankie and Meriam's house next week. 

Well, that is a quick look at a few of the things we have been doing the last few weeks.  We will update next week with pictures and reports from the Pastor's Conference in Mozambique.